How to stay ahead in 2015 – Top tips for freelance journalists

By Melissa Kitson @mnkitson

Let’s face it; creating the perfect, work-filled, stress-free freelance career is never going to be easy. Luckily, there are ways to make the experience a little smoother. With careful planning, freelancers can avoid many of the hiccups that define freelancing life and start to see greater traction.

By taking stock, setting goals and planning the year, freelancers have the chance to make 2015 the year of getting (and staying) ahead.

Here are some ideas on how to get started:

Update your Newsmodo profile

As a freelancer, it is easy to get caught up in either meeting deadlines or chasing work. This often means you forget to collate and organise your work. Entering 2015, it is important to take time to track down published pieces and update your portfolio.

Clean-up your computer

Never underestimate the power of a good computer clean-up. Purging old files, re-homing random articles and organising your filing system is an easy and very satisfying way to organise yourself for the year ahead. As work comes in, you will have a ready-made system and will not loose time remembering where you have saved documents.

Do a financial stock check

A sometimes grim but always useful task, checking your finances will help you begin the New Year with greater focus. Review your income, expenses and taxes. How are you poised for 2015? What do you need to take care of? If you don’t already have one, use this time to create a system for managing and tracking your invoices. Apps like Curdbee, Make Some Time and Wave may make the task less onerous.

Develop a personal brand marketing strategy

Taking charge of your personal brand is crucial to your success as a freelancer. This involves defining your niche and developing a plan of action to make yourself more visible.  Consider building a website, strengthening your social media presence, creating a blog calendar, joining professional associations or even attending industry events. The goal is to have a clear conception of your personal brand and a time-based strategy to build a following.